What is Sexual Violence

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is the general term we use to describe any kind of unwanted sexual act or activity. It includes rape, sexual assault and any other form of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse can happen to absolutely anyone

Abusers do not discriminate. There is no excuse or justification for sexual abuse. The responsibility lies completely with the perpetrator.
If you have been sexually abused, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault.

Sexual abuse can happen at any time

Whether it happened a long time ago, or it’s just happened to you now, you did not deserve this.

The effects of sexual abuse can include many emotional, psychological and physical conditions. The experience of sexual violence at any age to both males and females can have devastating and long-lasting effects on the mind, body, behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

The following list includes some of the effects now recognised and acknowledged as the consequences of sexual abuse:

Every survivor is a unique individual and may experience some, all or none of the following symptoms:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol/Drug Misuse and dependence
  • Sexual problems
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-injury and self-harming behaviour
  • Personality Disorders
  • Low self-esteem and/or confidence
  • Parenting Problems
  • Relationship Problems
  • Rape Trauma Syndrome

If you are a victim or survivor of sexual violence, the thought that you may be affected in any of the above ways may be frightening and daunting. RASASC NW strives to have the professional expertise and empathic understanding necessary to help you understand and meet the challenges and difficulties you may be experiencing as a result of the abuse you have suffered.

By law, a person only consents to sexual activity “if she or he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”.

If you said “yes” to something because you were scared for your life or safety, or of someone you care about, or if you were asleep or unconscious or incapacitated through alcohol or drugs, then you didn’t agree by choice and didn’t have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

If you froze or your body went limp through fear, if you didn’t say the word “no” or weren’t able to speak through shock, if you didn’t shout or fight or struggle, it doesn’t mean you gave your consent for what happened to you.

If you said “no”, you meant no.


To make it easier:

Consent. It’s a powerful word that, for some bizarre reason, is still argued about to this day. It seems many people still don’t really get what “consent” means.

“Whoever you are initiating ‘sexy times’ with, just make sure they are actually genuinely up for it. That’s it. It’s not hard. Really.”

If you’re still struggling, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea.

You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they go, “OMG, yes, I would soooooo LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!” Then you know they want a cup of tea.

If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people can’t answer the question, “Do you want tea?” because they are unconscious.

If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they um and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then - this is the important bit - don’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the tea on the off chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it.

If they say, “No, thank you,” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea, don’t make them drink tea, don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, okay?

They might say, “Yes, please, that’s kind of you,” and then when the tea arrives they actually don’t want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s okay for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it even though you went to the trouble of making it.

If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and can’t answer the question, “Do you want tea?” because they are unconscious.
Okay, maybe they were conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said yes, but in the time it took you to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk they are now unconscious. You should just put the tea down, make sure the unconscious person is safe, and - this is the important bit - don’t make them drink the tea.

If someone said yes to tea, started drinking it and then passed out before they’d finished it, don’t keep on pouring it down their throat. Take the tea away and make sure they are safe. Because unconscious people don’t want tea. Trust me on this.

If someone said “yes” to tea around your house last Saturday, that doesn’t mean that they want you to make them tea all the time. They don’t want you to come around unexpectedly to their place and make them tea and force them to drink it going, “BUT YOU WANTED TEA LAST WEEK,” or to wake up to find you pouring tea down their throat going “BUT YOU WANTED TEA LAST NIGHT.”

And that’s how you do that. The genius of this metaphor basically exposes everything - EVERYTHING! — that’s wrong with the unevolved dinosaurs who think the issue of consent is a complicated one. It’s not. It’s tea. Freakin’ brilliant.

Bonus? It also works on kids. Just replace tea with ice cream. Though we suppose that works for adults, too

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